Social Media Demographics for Higher Ed 2014-2015

In Social Media Marketing, University Admissions by Gregg BanseLeave a Comment

Social Media is growing quickly and the demographics are shifting as quickly. I spent some time sifting through Pew Research Institute’s reports as well as Google’s YouTube Demographic data and a few other sources.** I thought it would be useful to compile the data in one place so here it is.


I’m missing information on the use of SnapChat, Google+ and Vine for all of the age groups except the 13-17 yo demographic. If you have a source, please let me know.

Higher Ed Target Marketing

Probably no big surprise but based on the data here are the social media platforms to use for each of the higher ed audiences as I see it.

  • Prospective Undergraduate Students
    • Facebook
    • Instagram
    • SnapChat
  • Parents of Prospective Undergraduates
    • Facebook
    • LinkedIn
    • Pinterest (more women than men) & Twitter (more men than women)
  • Alumni
    • Facebook
    • LinkedIn
    • Pinterest & Twitter

Interesting Notes

Demographics of Key Social Networking Platforms [1. PewResearchCenter, Demographics of Key Social Networking Platforms]

  • Facebook:
    • 71% of adult internet users / 58% of entire adult population
    • 93% of Facebook users say they are Facebook friends with family members other than parents or children
    • 91% say they are Facebook friends with current friends
  • Twitter: 
    • 23% of adult internet users / 19% of entire adult population
    • Twitter is particularly popular among those under 50 and the college-educated.
  • Instagram: 
    • 26% of adult internet users / 21% of entire adult population
    • 53% of young adults ages 18-29 now use the service
    • Women are particularly likely to be on Instagram, along with Hispanics and African-Americans, and those who live in urban or suburban environments
  • Pinterest:
    • 28% of adult internet users / 22% of entire adult population
    • 42% of online women are Pinterest users, compared with just 13% of men
  • LInkedIn:
    • 28% of adult internet users / 23% of entire adult population
    • Popular among college graduates, those in higher-income households and the employed
    • It is the only platform where those ages 30-64 are more likely to be users than those ages 18-29.

Social Media Update 2014 [2. PewResearchCenter, Social Media Update 2014]

  • Multi-platform use is on the rise: 52% of online adults now use two or more social media sites
  • More than half of all online adults 65 and older (56%) use Facebook. This represents 31% of all seniors.

Social Networking Fact Sheet [3. PewResearchCenter, Social Networking Fact Sheet]

  • Fully 40% of cell phone owners use a social networking site on their phone, and 28% do so on a typical day
  • Young people, blacks, Hispanics, the highly educated and those with a higher annual household income are more likely to use SNS on their phones than other groups
  • Social networking sites are increasingly used to keep up with close social ties
  • The average user of a social networking site has more close ties and is half as likely to be socially isolated as the average American
  • Facebook users are more trusting than others
  • 46% of adult internet users post original photos or videos online that they themselves have created
  • 41% of adult internet users take photos or videos that they have found online and repost them on sites designed for sharing images with many people

Revealed: The Demographic Trends For Every Social Network [4. Business Insider, The Demographic Trends For Every Social Network]

  • Facebook remains the top social network for U.S. teens
  • Instagram has edged out Facebook and Twitter in terms of prestige among young users
  • Twitter has begun to lean toward male users
  • YouTube reaches more adults aged 18 to 34 than any single cable TV network

YouTube Demographics [5. Google, YouTube Demographics]

  • Men:
    • Audience 27.9 million men, ages 18-54
    • Reach 62% of all men ages 18-24 are on YouTube
  • Teens:
    • Audience 21.6 million teens
    • Reach 54% of all teens are on YouTube
  • Women:
    • Audience 34.7 million women ages 18-54
    • Reach 55% of all women ages 18-54 are on YouTube
  • Hispanics
    • Audience 8.6 million Hispanics
    • Reach 59% of all Hispanics are on YouTube

** These numbers are approximate. Some of the demographic information used age groups that did not match so I approximated the data to fit the age groups shown here.

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